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Witness Statement of Ali Mahin Torabi

21. The Arbitration Council could not reach a resolution, but at the same time the Special Investigation and Follow-up Unit of the Judiciary concluded that the court order against me was not legally valid and must be further reviewed. The authorities then forwarded the file to Branch 74 of the Penal court in the Province of Tehran, headed by Aziz Mohammadi, but the branch did not accept the file, arguing that at the time of the incident the branch had not been established, therefore the case must be reviewed by the youth court. Despite the favorable views of Mr. Omidi who read my file at the youth court, my file was rejected because I was no longer a youth.

The Second Parallel Court

22. Finally, on 8 June 2010, the file was sent to Branch 112 of the Criminal Court in Karaj. That court, based on the report of the Coroner’s Office which determined that the victim was killed as a result of one stab wound—an indirect one at that—acquitted me. No one appeared in court again to give evidence.

Release

23. I was released early in July 2010 on bail. Justice Gholami of Branch 112 of the Criminal Court of Karaj ordered that I should be looking into arranging for the payment of blood money in the sum of 70 million Tomans (US $70,000). For a month, my relatives visited me. I then decided to continue my education, but I was told by the school that I should first do my military service. I went to the Office of Military Services and was told that first I had to submit my final order from the Supreme Court and proof of my absolute acquittal before I could deal with the military service situation. As such, I could neither continue my education nor do my military service. Hence, I went to work.

24. After a while, my lawyer, Mrs. Fahimeh Haj Mohammad Ali, approached the Supreme Court and was told that I should be focusing on arranging for the payment of blood money and that my file would soon be completed and sent to the court. Shortly after Nowruz of 1390 [March 2011], my mother called Branch 112 of the Criminal Court of Karaj and was told that the ruling had been once again changed by Branch 27 of the Supreme Court in Qom. It reinstated the ruling of Qisas. Therefore, I would be summoned to court again for the increase in sentencing. Increase in sentencing meant that I would have to remain in jail until the judgment is carried out.

25. In the judgment rendered by Justice Fazel and court advisor, Mr. Razaghi, on 9 February 2011 at Branch 27 of the Supreme Court, they relied on evidence given by witnesses that I had inflicted three stab wounds and that I had been waiting for Mazdak Khodadadian (the victim) at the school entrance. However, school was over and we were leaving the school premises and I had not been waiting for anyone. None of the witnesses summoned by Branch 112 ever appeared in court, and the evidence provided by the Coroner’s Office determined one stab wound, although previously the witnesses gave evidence to three stab wounds.

26. From that point on I was terrified every time our doorbell rang, because I had already spent 7 years, 7 months and 11 days in jail without having committed any crime. After all this, whom, and at what cost, could defend me?!

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Tagged as:

Child Rights, Executions